Anticipating Forced Displacement Flows in Somalia

Relatore: Gregor Zens (Bocconi University)

  • Data: 06 ottobre 2022 dalle 11:30 alle 12:30

  • Luogo: Aula Seminari - Via Belle Arti, 41 - Primo Piano

Genpop/Popclima fall seminar series 2022

Anticipating Forced Displacement Flows in Somalia
Joint work with Lisa Thalheimer (Princeton University)

Forced displacement is a major humanitarian concern in many developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, the anticipation of future arrivals constitutes an important task for humanitarian aid agencies. While the main underlying causes of displacement, such as natural disasters, extreme weather events, and violent conflict are well understood, state-of-the-art statistical modeling frameworks tend to produce poor forecasts of displacement flows on a disaggregated level. This hinders anticipatory action and potentially leads to an inefficient allocation of aid, including food, water and medical services. We focus on the case of Somalia and highlight a number of potential challenges when modeling displacement flows and their relationship with climatic variation and conflict. To overcome these challenges, we develop a novel and flexible Bayesian modeling framework, derived from stylized facts of displacement flows in Somalia. When benchmarked against existing methods such as gravity models, the proposed framework shows highly competitive forecasting performance. In addition, the model is able to uncover unobserved patterns of heterogeneity, lending itself to additional analyses such as the identification of particularly vulnerable regions.

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